A little while back I was sitting down with colleagues for coffee, we were bemoaning the grim time we had at school in PE (physical education) lessons. My colleagues and I are all scientists, we excelled in other areas at school. For much of my school life I abhorred “games” lessons, if there were teams to be picked then I would be second to last to be selected – just before the fat kid in the class. I have a clear memory of members of my own team attacking me on the rugby pitch. These experiences were common to my colleagues. It isn’t even that I am particularly unfit, it was simply that I didn’t get on with organised team sports or activities; I couldn’t see the point.
My revelation was that there are no doubt a multitude of parallel groups that said the same of their maths lessons, physics lessons, English lessons… They did not excel at the activities with which they were presented, they couldn’t see the point of them and ultimately they have found they have little relevance to their vocations but they needed to get something from those lessons.
For me finding the way is simply to go to the gym three times a week at the crack of dawn, engaging in a variety of slightly pointless activities whilst listening to radio 4’s Today program and watching soundless “Heartbeat”. I wish my PE lessons had given me this 30 years ago.